With Mobile Ads, Creative Is King (Part 1)

For brands and retailers embarking on a mobile campaign, the temptation is to dive headfirst into data and then more data, rather than smarter creative messaging, content and shopper tools. The pitfall here is that a brand budgets itself into a corner, put­ting most of its effort upfront to pinpoint consumers based on location, purchase history and a range of other characteristics, but then merely repurposes a desktop banner to mobile size, and blasts it out programmatically.

Why would a mobile user even bother to view that ad? As Jason Young, VP Media and GM of Crisp, a Quotient company, says, “the starting point for what marketers need to think about is in fact creative.”

The right place to start isn’t how a campaign can be targeted but rather:

  • What should the content look like?
  • What ad format will work best?
  • How will that ad integrate into the device?
  • What’s the consumer benefit and reason for her to move down that path to purchase?

This is the complexity of creative, and it’s part one of a six-part, thought-leadership series by Crisp to help brands plan and exe­cute mobile campaigns.

Creative is more important than ever, and the first step in the process is to think mobile first. “Upon receiving assets for cre­ative execution we frequently notice that we are considered an afterthought of desktop advertising,” says Stefaan De Waegenei­re, creative director at Crisp. CPG brands need to think “vertically first,” adjusting strategies, planning and spending to put the mobile phone first and desktop second. For one, there’s less space on a mobile screen, and it’s eas­ier to start with mobile and then move to desktop where there’s more space. Also, the portability and extensive capabilities of the mobile phone require more thought, planning and effort. For instance, at the right moment you can give shoppers a way to save recipes and shopping lists to their phone from an ad, find the closest store on a map or save a sales event to a phone’s calendar. Features like this just don’t exist on desktop. Start with the complex and powerful, and then extend to an easier platform like desktop. Today, mobile campaigns are about dynamic messaging and putting the shopper first.

“Today, mobile campaigns are about dynamic messaging and putting the shopper first.”

Here are more tips for how to lead with creative:

  • Less is more. Shoppers on the mobile phone are on the move. Creative must be boiled down to the key message. If a product is known, lean on visual recog­nition. If it’s an offer-based promotion, lead with the offer upfront. Crisp has seen better ad performance that way.
  • Be viewable. Crisp emphasizes viewabil­ity, hence the creation of its Adhesion ads and overlays (see “Deconstructing Creative” sidebar). According to the data company Integral Ad Science, half of digital ads are out of view. Adhesion ads, per a December 2016 study from Click Z saw “dramatic increases” in click-thru rates. In addition, images need to be high “retina” quality, not blurry, low-resolution images often seen when a desktop banner is merely shrunk to size.
  • Be respectful. “All of our ads are con­sumer friendly,” says Jones. Ads need to take into account how personal the mobile device is to a consumer. Crisp doesn’t kick a consumer off her page into a new browser or derail her from her ini­tial goal, as some cross-screen technolo­gies are prone to do.
  • Be helpful. Give shoppers the tools and content to make shopping easier, like the ability to tie into a retailer’s loyalty program and apps that shoppers already use. Integrate shopper incentives from the best content providers.


Want to learn more? Download the full white paper.


Get the latest Quotient news and insights delivered to your inbox – click here to subscribe to our newsletter.